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Addressing safety

The Distracted Driving Index concluded that the top 5% of commercial vehicle drivers are distracted 79% of the time during risky driving maneuvers, a rate nearly six times higher than the rest of the drivers in the study.

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Using technology helps reduce accident frequency and costs.

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During the National Safety Council’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month, SmartDrive Systems announced initial results of a study designed to explore the distracted driving rate in commercial fleets. The Distracted Driving Index concluded that the top 5% of commercial vehicle drivers are distracted 79% of the time during risky driving maneuvers, a rate that is nearly six times higher than the rest of the drivers in the study.

For the study, SmartDrive evaluated more than 15.1 million video events recorded over the course of 2012 and quantified distractions such as mobile phone use, eating, drinking, doing paperwork, personal hygiene and other activities. The percentages reflect how often a distraction was observed when a risky driving maneuver was recorded. For example, over 30% of distracted drivers were eating and drinking while speeding.

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For many light- and medium-duty fleet managers, addressing safety is an important but time-consuming process. There are, however, solutions available that can be used to effectively and efficiently work with drivers to change unsafe behaviors.

The SmartDrive integrated solution of onboard video and audio, and vehicle data capture systems, detects risky and inefficient driving behaviors. The SmartDrive Review Center categorizes and prioritizes the triggered driving events based on more than 70 observation points. This information is then used to provide focused training and coaching programs that target and prioritize the areas needing improvement.

Loomis has implemented the SmartDrive solution in more than 2,600 armored vehicles that travel over 72 million miles annually. Results reported by the company include a 53% reduction in speeding and collision frequency. “SmartDrive gives us the opportunity to correct unsafe behaviors, because we see incidents occur that we normally wouldn’t see,” said Randy Sheltra, vice president of safety for Loomis. “By changing those driving behaviors, we can reduce the impact of the most significant incidents and keep the general public safer.”

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ICEE Co., producer of frozen carbonated beverages, is currently implementing SmartDrive programs across its company fleet of 680 distribution and service vehicles that operate from over 100 service centers nationwide. The company will be using the solution to develop focused driving skills training programs aimed at reducing risk and generating fuel savings.

“We were already sold on the benefits of event triggered video capture to improve driving skills,” said Rod Sexton, vice president of operations at ICEE Co. “We chose SmartDrive because of the support and coaching programs that come with the product. We believe we will see more efficient drivers and a measurable reduction in collisions.”

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DriveCam also supplies a program that combines data and video analytics with real-time driver feedback and coaching. The solution uses the company’s Driver Science Engine, which scores, prioritizes and tracks results of driving behaviors. Fleets manage the program through a web-based portal.

Orange County, Fla., has implemented the DriveCam solution in its fleet of 2,200 vehicles. In the first year, the county realized an 81% reduction in the cost of accidents and a 76% drop in accident frequency. “We started to see poor driving behaviors that we were able to address immediately,” said John Petrelli, manager of risk management for the county. “With DriveCam, we’re now able to enforce a lot of those elements that we wouldn’t be able to see otherwise.”

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DriveCam has just announced that TXI, a supplier of building materials with subsidiaries in five states, is deploying its solution across its fleet of ready-mix concrete trucks, and aggregate and cement hauling vehicles. “We used DriveCam for about six months and experienced a major reduction in claims compared to last year, as well as a reduction in total costs,” said Jamie Rogers, TXI’s vice president and COO.

When fleets and drivers alike know exactly what is causing distractions on the road and are taking steps to address them, more cost-effective and safer operations are possible. 

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